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Sweep Picking as a Tool - Concept

Steve Hubbard 107 lessons

Hi folks!

The main goal behind this tutorial, is to give you a number of sweep related licks that may be a bit less typical, to what you would normally play. If you have been using this technique for years, and years, you probably have developed a solid grasp in applying sweep picking to your improvisation.

As mentioned in the video, many players tend to isolate sweep picking into 'up and down' arpeggio runs. I should first say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with this! These type of leads are quite often desired, especially in shred/metal. A prime example of tasteful 'sweep runs' can be heard in the following examples, by Sean Conklin, and Chris Feener.

Arpeggio Etude

In The Style of Scar Symmetry


For the genres that I most frequently play (Fusion,  Funk, Blues, Rock, Pop,) I find that I 'naturally' incorporate the technique into my lines. I could be playing blues, hovering around the minor pentatonic box, or I could be playing a melodic lead at a church gig! The technique is there to use, and it will often appear in ways that mainly assist in playing a melody or solo - i.e. not so 'obvious' sweep picking.

I've provided 7 short examples, using a number of different shapes / voicings. I should point out that these licks combine sweep picking with a number of other common techniques: legato, alternate picking, hybrid picking, etc. You should never feel as if you have to follow a set of rules. Do what works for you, and use whatever techniques necessary, to express yourself through the guitar!

For technical reasons, you may want to take close note to the pick strokes, as marked in my tablature. Some up strokes can be substituted with hybrid picking, but as always, feel free to change things up!

Let's get started with the licks!

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